In this time of economic distress, the SouthtownStar decided to take a look at the financial portfolios of the congressmen from its area.
"[T]hey're still probably in better shape than most," the paper concluded.
"Their $174,000-a-year salaries alone would put them among the highest-earning households in the country. On top of that, in some cases their spouses hold high-paying jobs. Plus, as a look at their most recent required financial disclosure forms shows, most possess substantial savings and investments."
The paper found that U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Hinsdale) was "easily the wealthiest" of the four area congressmen examined. "Her estimated net worth, between $2,347,000 and $6,730,000, made her the 72nd wealthiest House member,"
By contrast, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Chicago) ranks 317th in the House, though he also has his wife's $110,556 salary as a Chicago alderman to fall back on. In a written statement to the paper, Jackson said he lives "paycheck to paycheck."
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Chicago), a former political science professor, ranks as the House's 140th wealthiest member. "Most of his assets are listed as being held by his wife, Judy, an actuary who works for Coventry Health Care," the paper says. Lipinski says he and his wife are "savers;" he sleeps in his Capitol Hill office rather than renting an apartment.
The financial condition of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago) is murky. According to the SouthtownStar, Rush "has not listed any reportable assets worth more than $1,000 for the past 12 years or any unearned income more than $200."
But that doesn't mean he has no access to money. For example, he once landed a $1 million grant for the Bobby L. Rush Technology Center from AT&T while sitting on a congressional committee with oversight over the telecommunications company. Rush also used his political campaign fund to start a church in Englewood.
Also, "Records show Rush's campaign committee paid his wife, Carolyn, some $60,000 in consulting fees last year," the SouthtownStar reports.